Incessant rain coupled with misty clouds caused traffic snarls in the capital yesterday but no serious accidents were reported.
A senior official from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment Protection (PME) said that torrential rain would continue until Monday in the central and Eastern regions.
He described the weather condition as "unstable" due to a low pressure system in the Eastern Mediterranean. He said northwesterly winds are blowing at 15 to 38 km/h.
An official from the Riyadh Traffic Department said there were no major accidents reported on account of yesterday's rains. "Our officials took positions in all strategic places to warn motorists to slow down the traffic flow because of the inclement weather," he added.
"Since the PME has warned us of further rains, we will be ready for the onset," he stressed. The present Saher traffic system also contributed a great deal to reducing traffic accidents, he noted.
Officials of the Saudi Red Crescent were on high alert on the highway to help casualties, if any, due to road accidents.
“The inclement weather gave a testing time to all motorists in Riyadh with intermittent rain and chilly winds pushing the mercury to drop to below eight degrees Celsius even at noon,” resident S.H. Moulana said, adding that visibility was extremely poor and driving was almost impossible without the use of lights.
“Traffic lights at almost every intersection started malfunctioning for unknown reasons. A distance which normally takes 30 minutes to reach took well over one and a half hours. The sky is still cloudy and gloomy, promising more rain,” another motorist said.
“The rains have brought pleasant tidings for the winter,” an official from the Wildlife Conservation and Development told Arab News . Welcoming the rains, he said that heavy downpour is ideal for plant vegetation. "The rains will create a conducive environment for wildlife and plantation. We could also expect a higher percentage during the next breeding season in the spring." The wetness will freshen the vegetation and grasslands in the Central province.
He added that people will see the blossoming of desert flowers, plants and green after the rains. Following the rains, he warned city dwellers who visit green areas in the suburbs on picnics not to spoil the plant cover and the green grass along the water courses because these places form ideal habitats for local and migratory birds. “The rains will greatly benefit the wildlife, providing water and necessary food for its sustenance.”
Government schools were not affected by rains since most of the students went to school before the rains started. However, a few private schools shut down earlier than the scheduled time to send their students home without getting caught in abnormal traffic.
On account of the rain, the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh postponed its 42nd Victory Day celebrations scheduled in the evening yesterday for a later date.
Based on the PME weather forecast, the General Directorate of Civil Defense warned citizens and residents not to take unwanted risk during rains and anticipated floods. According to the directorate, rains are expected in Riyadh, Al-Qassim and in the Eastern Province on Monday too.
The director of Public Relations and Media, Brig. Saleh bin Ali Al-Eid, advised people not to take their children to pools and water-logged areas to avoid unnecessary problems. He also advised adults to keep away from dams, valleys and artificial lakes during this period .
Torrential rains were reported in the Asir region, including the city of Abha and its suburbs.
Al-Qassim region also experienced heavy rains yesterday since the morning. The rains also affected cities such as Buraidah and Onaizah.